Take a trip with some new releases of pop and punk rock.
The New Abnormal
The opening notes of The Adults Are Talking are like fairy dust, transporting us back to the glory days of 2001 when The Strokes debut Is This It? took us back to the glory days of 1979 where we shared a back table at Max’s Kansas City with Lou Reed and Richard Hell and Terry Southern.
Is This remains a classic for the ages, but the next six albums were varying stages of heart break as the five Strokes pursued different styles and fought each other.
Finally we have the follow-up to the debut. Julian Casablanca’s weary vocals are still fatigued in contrast to the energy of the band on tracks like Brooklyn Bridge. Conversely, he sounds positively emotions on Ode to the Mets.
The Loves of Your Life
Leithauser fronted alt-rock group The Walkmen and this is his second solo effort.
Leithauser tasked himself with telling a bunch of stories about New Yorkers and his friends.
No lawsuits or blood feuds have come forth; these are not edgy songs but well-observed, often witty and always generous stories, even when in the case of Isabella the subject is somewhat damaged and dangerous.
Could Leithauser be to New York middle class apartment living what Bruce was to the haunted New Jersey turnpike? Maybe.
5 Seconds of Summer
Few people who saw 5SOS emerge from Sydney’s West, bright eyed and bushy tailed, pumping out pop punk like a boy band in 2012 expected they would last beyond two albums or the 1D teen pop enthusiasm.
Yet here they are at LP 4 and outgrown their gangly adolescence. Youngblood from their last LP suggested a harder edge to come and Calm, isn’t quite it.
They have taken a rockier road and there are touches of alt rock electronica,
Latin flavours and retro dance music. It’s all solid pop music though with more hooks than a bait shop. B
Another Melbourne punk trio fronted by an outspoken woman.
Jenny McKenchie is possibly more direct and politically sophisticated than most of her contemporaries.
Although Cable Ties fit into the rubric of punk there is a strong Germanic flavour and a post-punk sensitivity.
McKenchie is certainly angry but it’s not, like so many punk trios, one dimensional.
Nick Brown’s thundering bass powers so many of the songs but then they’re not afraid of the piano or an acoustic guitar.
There’s a retro punk sound that invites retro feminist slogans – the personal is political. These are songs about gender and feminism and capitalism and the whole ball of wax.
Toby Creswell is a music journalist and pop-culture writer, as well as a former editor of Rolling Stone (Australia) and founding editor of Juice.